Bringing home a new puppy is such an exciting time! Recently, during COVID we have seen a large increase in the number of pet adoptions worldwide. With uncertainty and changes happening across Australia, it’s no surprise that we are valuing the loyal companionship of our pets now more than ever.
While it’s easy to get lost in cute antics and those adorable puppy cuddles, it’s also important to be prepared. Here are some tips and tricks to help you to prepare for your new puppy’s arrival and help them settle in as quickly as possible.
Plan before bringing home a new puppy
It’s important for you to plan what life with your new puppy will look like. If you have flat mates or kids, it's a good idea to also include them in the conversation. Will your puppy be allowed on the couch? Where will they eat and sleep?
Discussing these situations beforehand ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to raising the puppy.
Establish a routine for your puppy
Having a routine provides your puppy with clarity and can actually help with toilet training! This means setting a time frame for meals, walks, play and going to the toilet. The routine can of course change and adapt as your puppy grows. However, having a set routine for the first couple of months will really help your puppy to get used to your lifestyle and expectations.
For example, always remove any leftover food after mealtimes and take your puppy out to the toilet afterwards. This makes it clear to your puppy (and easier for you!) to know when they need to go to the toilet.
Puppy proof your home
You’d be surprised the amount of mischief a little puppy can get up to! Having a dedicated area like a crate, baby gates or a play pen helps to manage your puppy’s access to the rest of the home. This also gives you peace of mind when you are not around.
Check the area has no gaps and the barrier is tall enough to prevent your puppy from climbing out. You’ll also need to provide toys and some bedding for your puppy. Rotate the toys for variety and to keep things interesting for your puppy. If you are leaving for longer periods of time, include water and a puppy pee pad in case of accidents!
Remember to check the area around the playpen or crate to ensure it does not have anything that is within reach. For example, handbags, blankets, or kids' toys. Your puppy may be tempted to reach the items and could hurt themselves.
Supervise your puppy while they are outside of their dedicated area. This prevents them from accidentally going to the toilet out of sight or getting up to mischief and ingesting something dangerous. At the same time, remove all loose items such as shoes, socks and laundry from the floor. Wires should be secured or placed behind furniture, check cupboard doors are closed and put away any breakables that are at your puppy’s height. This sets your puppy up for success by not giving them the opportunity to mistake those items as toys or accidentally knocking over something fragile (and probably expensive!)
Choose appropriate puppy toys
Puppies explore the world through their mouths and will chew anything they can get their mouths on (much like babies!). Therefore, when choosing toys for your puppy, check that the toy is made for dogs and has been through proper testing. Toys should also be a suitable size and not have any dangerous accessories such as zips or buttons protruding.
There are several types of toys you give your new puppy. Some are suitable for independent play and self-enrichment, while others are more suitable for engagement play (like tug!) and shouldn’t be left alone with your puppy. Here are some of our favourites:
Rufus Junior Chew Toy – An all in one toy! This durable toy squeaks, floats and can store surprise treats.
Natural Rubber Treat Toy – Fill this toy with treats, kibble or peanut butter and it will keep your puppy quiet and entertained for a long time!
I Give A Wag – Ziggy Zebra Rope – The perfect toy for a game of tug! Remember to be gentle and keep sessions short when playing tug with your puppy. It’s also best to avoid tug play if they are teething.
Anytime you give your puppy a new toy, please observe how they play and interact with it. Some puppies are naturally more eager than others and therefore should only have toys under constant supervision. Remember to also check the toys regularly for signs of wear.
When do you start training a new puppy?
You can start training the moment you bring your puppy home. Training does not have to be formal but should be part of daily life with your new puppy. This includes teaching them to recognise their own name, the rules and boundaries of your home, toilet training, self-settling and how to play safely with you. Once they start understanding these life skills, you can begin including more formal training sessions.
It’s recommended that puppies do not engage in too much physical exercise while their bones are still growing. Enrichment activities are a good way to provide them with sufficient mental stimulation whilst also helping them to expel any excess energy. Enrichment activities can be as simple as placing your puppy’s meal into a food puzzle or scattering treats among their toys for them “hunt down” and discover.
Puppy essentials checklist
Before bringing your puppy home, here are some essential items you'll need:
- Food and water bowl
- Treats and toys
- ID tag, collar, harness and leash
- Pee pads and poo bags
- Crate or baby gate
- Flea and worm treatments
- Shampoo and other grooming supplies
Did you know? Rufus & Coco have a range of bundle packs with essential items that are especially selected for new puppy parents!
To make life for pet parents easier we have gathered some of the major essentials into ready to go Bundle Packs. These packs are not only super convenient but at 20% off they’re extremely cost effective for new fur parents. Shop all our bundles here.
Remember when bringing home your new puppy, they have just been separated from their litter mates. This means that they might not be used to being alone and may cry or fuss for the first couple of nights while they get used to their new home. During this time, it's important to be patient and give your puppy time to adjust while setting them up for success. While it may be tempting to offer them constant attention to soothe them, be mindful that this could set a precedent and develop into behavioural issues such as separation anxiety. Therefore, offer them plenty of reassurance but also ensure that there are moments where they learn to self settle away from you (even if you are at home).
Sharing your life with a puppy is such a rewarding time, enjoy every moment watching them grow and becoming part of the family.